Evacuation Shelter in Bushwick Awaits the Storm

By Jeanmarie Evelly on October 29, 2012 3:28pm 

BUSHWICK — Despite the steady rain and winds picking up outside, the scene was quiet inside I.S. 383 in Brooklyn on Monday, one of 76 hurricane shelters operating across the five boroughs.

Volunteers at the Bushwick school-turned-shelter at 1300 Greene Ave. said they'd only taken in a few evacuees, most of whom were still sleeping at 10 a.m. on some of the many green cots that were set up in the cafeteria.

Kenneth Doole, 47, had sought refuge at the center after leaving the men's homeless shelter on Wards Island, which was not located within the mandatory evacuation zone on the city's hurricane map. Still, Doole said he felt safer at the Bushwick school.

"No one moved except me," he said. "I hate storms. I hope it won't be a bad storm."

In the I.S. 383 cafeteria, a television projected on a big screen was tuned to CNN, showing satellite pictures of Sandy as she moved north, and scenes of the eastern coast being battered by waves.

Volunteers at the shelter — who asked not to be named, saying they didn't have permission from the city to speak to the press — said they were just waiting to see how many people arrived as the day went on.

"It all depends," said one volunteer, who also worked in a city shelter during Hurricane Irene last summer. "The first set of people you have are the early learners. Then you get the wave of people who are actually forced to leave."

Though I.S. 383 is not immediately near any mandatory evacuation areas, the group said they could get receive residents arriving from other, more crowded shelters later in the day or from NYCHA housing developments that are being evacuated, like those in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

One volunteer, who lives nearby, said she planned to wait out the storm in the shelter, saying she hopes her home will stay safe while she's gone.

"I just left my house and said a prayer," she said.

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